Strength in the shadows
This past Saturday officially marked the return of the Rockhoppers regular Saturday morning Bandera training runs. We met at 4am and arrived at the park by 5 to get about an hour of dark running in before the sun rose to meet us. It was a great run with a fun group and the pace was rockin’.
Getting home by 11 a.m. after running nearly 20 miles, having nearly the whole day still ahead of you is an amazing feeling. So amazing in fact, I decided to run another 20ish miles later on Saturday. With the upcoming night 60k series, I figured it was a good idea to get some tired/delirious running in and practice some long miles on tired legs.
Around 9 p.m. I met up with a local group who is training for a local ultra. The plan was to a full loop of their 100 mile course, which amounted to 20 miles approximately (giving me about 38 for the day). I felt great early on, but around mile 14 or 15 some nausea begin creeping in. I never got to the point of feeling the need to throw up, but I felt like it was a fine line I was tip-toeing on. Thankfully, I had the cover of night to veil my grimaces, and before long I was embracing the feeling, knowing full-well that it will rear its head again when my 100 miler comes around. May as well learn to embrace it now.
The sun was gone and we were in the dark shortly into the run, which was nice because I had not gotten to test my new headlight yet for any decent length of time.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy running in the dark (howling coyotes excluded). There is something both eerie and beautiful about the entire world collapsing down to the confines of your headlight’s reach. Since I basically feel helpless anyway to whatever lies beyond the scope of my light, I lose fear of wild animals and trail hazards. Due to this blissful ignorance, I often find myself in a trance brought upon by a rhymic cadence of constant footsteps and deep breaths over roots and crushed rock.